It’s been a month now since Little Bear was admitted to in-patient for possible psychosis and during that entire time I’ve only mentioned it in my mood trackers. I didn’t know how to talk about it. He’s been home since Thursday night and I’m still not sure how to talk about, but I’m going to try.
Little Bear is my baby, as much as he hates me saying that, and like his brothers he is my world. Everything about these boys is a huge part of what makes me tick. It’s exceptionally rare for me to get through therapy without mentioning them, directly or indirectly, in some way.
When they are doing well, I’m puffing with pride, relief, and happiness. I want it to last forever. What parent doesn’t? And when they aren’t… well… I’m in crisis. It’s all I can do to keep my head above the waves of depression. Perseveration is the name of the game at this point.
Whatever the problem is, I can’t let it go until it’s been resolved. My mind won’t rest. If I talk about it, I’m accused of being negative. So a number of things happen:
- I bottle it up and try to keep it to myself.
- Fatigue and irritability sets in because even when I sleep it’s not quality sleep thanks to the perseveration.
- Due to emotional bottling, my affect becomes flatter and people honestly think I’m fine and handling everything well which increases my emotional disconnect.
- As my emotional disconnect widens, I increasingly feel unsupported and unable to ask for help, which in turn deepens the depression.
- As depression deepens, alexithymia kicks in which only seems to further encourage others to falsely believe I’m fine and that I’m handling everything on my own well.
- While all of this is going on, I lean on one person only for any kind of support which I know is very taxing for that individual yet at the same time I can’t bring myself to trust anyone else.
- I don’t know why this happens when everything else as a clear logic to me because it not always the same person.
- I’m sure there are other factors going into it, but it appears situational as I’m writing this while I think back on all of it.
So this time around, all of this occurred in a short span of time once Little Bear went into in-patient. We’re talking days. I think the only thing that prevented me from hitting total dysfunction was the fact I’m taking meds every day and I’m going to therapy every week.
Now to be clear here, the point of this blog post isn’t about my son’s experience. I can’t speak to that even though I got to visit him 1 to 2 hours every day. I’m not him. I’m his parent. This post is about me as his parent while he was in there and what it was like dealing with that. Which point blank: SUCKED.
This is the second time Little Bear has had to go into hospital observation to have his meds changed. The first time was partial in-patient. This time was full in-patient. He’s being transitioned to partial in-patient now. I don’t believe that it ever gets easier. If anyone tells you different, I think they are lying. And I say this as someone that struggles with alexithymia, so take that into consideration.
Not having him home punched me in the soul.
There I said it. It hurts to say it. Even while he’s home now playing his video games. Even when he had his welcome home party with the pizza and Halloween pinata I had promised him for the Halloween party he wasn’t home for. I know all you single parents out there know this pain when you don’t have your child home for a particular holiday because it’s not your turn that year.
It sucks and it never really gets easier, does it? I don’t care what anybody says. It’s just this white lie we like to tell ourselves to keep from crying in public. And you know what? That’s okay. It really is. It’s okay to feel this pain when our kiddos aren’t home for whatever reason. It means we love them. What’s not okay is to not let them go when we should be letting them go. It’s important to remember that. Honor the pain we feel, but let them go when they need to go.
The mistake I made this time around was not honoring this pain I felt.
I didn’t speak up and tell people I was hurting. I didn’t allow myself to cry in public or in private. I just plain did not allow myself to feel it. I clung instead to this false belief that I had to hold my shit together and be strong at all costs. What that did to me instead was it created an internal sense of collapsing. I felt like I was alone and suffocating. That’s not good self care.
I wasn’t getting good sleep – still not. I’m still not eating a good diet. No proper exercise for stress relief. There’s nothing to refill the reserves for myself and it’s all there in my mood trackers. I’m not doing everything I need to be doing so when a crisis hits like it did last month, I’m just barely hanging on. What the hell am I doing to myself here? I don’t know.
Yes, I love Tarot, and yes, I’m going to bring it up now because all of this brings to mind my growth card this year. The way you find your growth card is you take the number of your birth month and add to the number of your birth day and then add it to the current year. Then you just keep adding those digits until you have a two digit number that is less than 22. For more information on the calculations, visit this website.
The card I got this year is Death.
No, this does NOT mean I’m dying. Well, maybe it could mean the old me is dying. Like the Phoenix rising up from the ashes. Or like the caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. This card is all about transitioning from old to new.
So in talking about all this in how I handled the crisis with my son being in-patient, I can see that my self care habits aren’t good and need to be changed to something new. They need to be transformed. If this is my year to really improve myself, then this is an area I shouldn’t be over looking. It’s absolutely an area I should addressing to make better. Not sure yet what I’ll be doing, but it’s now on my radar so stay tuned because as I make changes I will be sharing it here.
The other thing I find interesting about having this card as my growth card, is that it’s also Little Bear’s personality card. The way you find that is the same calculation as above, only you use your birth year. For more information on this, visit this website. To add greater depth to this conversation, I am including his soul card and sun card to the mix as well. The soul card is found by adding the two digit personality number together while the sun card is the court decant card ruling the sun at the time of your birth. You actually find that here if you are willing to take the time to look at the individual court cards, knight through kings.
So what are we looking at here? His personality is Death. His soul is the Emperor. His sun is the Queen of Swords. What does that mean exactly?
Let’s start with Death. This is someone that likes to bring about change. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? Because Death is the “Grim Reaper” so this is someone that clears away what doesn’t serve a purpose in order for new things to grow. Like winter. When winter comes, grass dies. Then spring eventually comes and new grass grows. So this is a personality that serves this function in life. Mind you we’re not talking about a murderer here. We’re talking about the kind of people that say, “This isn’t working anymore,” and proceeds to change it with unstoppable determination to something better even when everyone else thinks it’s just fine.
Next up is the Emperor which is his soul and thus, his driving force. He likes to be large and in charge. In his mind, he’s always the boss. He calls the shots and it’s often his way or the highway. This is also a person that desires structure that matches his vision.
Last, but not least, is the sun card. His is the Queen of Swords. I like to view this card as one’s inner light. This card is gifted with a keen eye, a sharp wit, and the ability to draw upon one’s past experiences. So this is someone who may forgive, but will never forget. You’ll notice that for these people it’s all about the details and their sense of humor, although at times odd, is very quick. Like the Knight and King of Swords they are truth oriented but unlike them, the Queen of Swords can come across jaded at times due to that well-spring of the past they possess.
Do I believe this matches Little Bear? Yes. He speaks his mind without filter and wants to do his own thing without regard of the rules that others have placed. He has rigid black and white thinking – clinically known as splitting (while the Wikipedia explains what it is, I don’t like how it claims it only manifests in a select few disorders when it actually shows up in more than the ones it lists because it’s actually a dysfunction of executive/cognitive function which is present in many disorders not just Schizophrenia, Narcissism, and Depression). In fact, it’s because of this black and white thinking he has had many of his meltdowns and violent outbursts. This is why he was diagnosed with Conduct Disorder years ago and why the doctors are challenging it now with possible Autism.
So what does it mean for me as a parent? Well, knowing that his list of diagnoses have changed when he was discharged means I’m probably going to need to change how I approach his care. He has a provisional Bipolar diagnosis now instead of Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder. He has Unspecified Anxiety Disorder. He has Unspecified Impulse Control and Conduct Disorder (again). He is flagged for possible Autism.
It’s clear to me that change is required, but how does this apply to me exactly as a parent? Why don’t I lay out my own set of persona cards here and give them a look to see what I can brainstorm here?
Okay, what we are looking at here is I have the Tower for my personality, the Chariot for my soul, and the Queen of Swords for my sun. Let’s dig in.
The Tower is another card that is all about change, but unlike Death that feels cyclic and unavoidable, this card is sudden upheaval and is based upon revelations. The changes that come from this is a result from things we learn and it tends to feel like it shatters everything we thought we knew or shakes the foundation at least. So how is that a personality and do I agree with it as mine? I’m constantly learning and always asking questions. Sometimes I do end up discovering things that change everything. Sometimes, like this time around, I slowly come to realize that I’ve been doing everything all wrong and need to make a change. This is why I have the biology quote regarding chaos theory under my blog header. I completely believe in and live that every day. If it stops working for me, I immediately go find something that does.
The Chariot is my soul and is what drives my entire sense of being. This card is about staying focused in order to achieve victory. As you can see in this particular card, there are so many heads trying to pull it forward. In order to get forward movement in a straight line, you need to control those heads and align them into one purpose otherwise you will fail. So the only real thing stopping me, ever, is me. I have the ability to maneuver and navigate as long as I keep my head straight.
Finally, we have the Queen of Swords. I share the same inner light as Little Bear so I won’t go over it again.
So what does this mean for me as a parent to a child like Little Bear?
Tower and Death: I need to pay attention and make changes when he does. Adaptation is the name of the game here. I don’t think there is much more to say here.
Chariot and Emperor: This is where things clash. Hard. I’m the parent, not him. I make the rules, not him. More often than not I have to employ the art of redirection with this kid. Only time will tell if this is a good strategy or not. Providing solid structure for him is also indicated here since his soul appears to crave it. Structure is an area I’m not good at but given how this is a year of transformation for me, it looks like it’s high time for me to not just “get good” but to master it.
Queen of Swords x2: He is watching me watching him. He’s also paying attention to how I take care of myself which means I absolutely need to address my own self care as of yesterday. I need to give him an open door policy to speak with me about whatever and not dismiss him when he walks in to do so because when he does it’s going to come from a place of his truth. And I need to honor that. I also need to keep doing what I’ve been doing in regards to taking stock of what is working, what has worked, clearing out what isn’t working, and looking for what will work.
So it looks like with this kiddo that I need to roll with the punches along with him while providing solid structure and guidance. Pretty much what any parent does when they have a strong willed child, really. It’s just my strong willed child also has a mood disorder that includes the occasional psychotic episode that I need to be on the watch for.
I pulled one final card for random advice and the card I got was the Five of Cups from the Mystic Faerie Tarot.
The advice I get out of this card is to avoid doing exactly what I did in October. When things start becoming emotionally overwhelming, I need to allow myself to release it. Whatever it is, I need to honor it. I need to permit myself to reach out to others for support. I have Migraine Disorder, Bipolar Type I, PTSD, GAD, and Schizoid Traits. If I don’t take care of these illnesses, then how can I possibly expect myself to take care of my boys? I can’t. That’s not being honest or realistic with myself.
I need to start making a change today. I just don’t know where to begin.